Gordon Huether and “The Basket”

Downtown Napa's newest art installation

When Archer Hotel Napa was considering an artist to collaborate with for an art installation near the entrance of its hotel, Gordon Huether was a natural choice.

Huether opened his art studio in Napa in 1987 and has since created large-scale works of art that are displayed throughout Napa, California, the United States and the world. The studio is known for its attention to detail, knowledge of local culture, outstanding craftsmanship and extensive experience in creating site-specific art installations with a distinct contemporary aesthetic.

Creating each piece, Huether integrates the area’s history and people and the influence of the landscape into his work, bringing a story to life through the artwork. His latest installation — “The Basket” — does just that.

Photo courtesy of Gordon Huether
Photo courtesy of Gordon Huether

In planning for “The Basket,” Gordon Huether looked to Napa Valley’s history and culture for inspiration — specifically, the indigenous tribes that once lived in that part of Northern California, recognized for their unique basket-making artistry. In addition, the basket theme embodies Archer Hotel’s mission to create something unique and site-specific in alliance with great attention and dedication to detail.

Huether spent approximately 10 weeks in the design development phase, which includes digital design, final renderings and engineering. The actual construction took approximately 300 hours. The finished piece stands at 22 feet, constructed of aluminum and dichroic glass (glass that appears to have more than one color at the same time and in different lighting).

The woven slats of the basket represent the interwoven experiences, stories and backgrounds that create a community. The basket’s unfinished appearance conveys a constantly evolving Napa — never stagnant and always dynamic, it connects the past, present and future of the city.

“Illuminated at night, ‘The Basket’ will become a beacon, marking this gateway in a newly revitalized downtown Napa,” Huether said. “I feel honored and humbled to be a part of such an exciting new development in the town I have been calling my home for more than half a century.”

Huether and the Archer team previously collaborated on a suspended art installation for Archer Hotel New York. They are excited to be working together again on this unique sculptural project. Details are still being finalized for an official unveiling of “The Basket” in front of Archer Hotel Napa.

A sampling of Huether’s artwork

Stand at Archer Hotel New York’s elevator doors in the lobby and look up for a dramatic view of “Lichtregen” (German for “Rain of Light”). Gordon Huether created a myriad of dichronized acrylic and acrylic rods that dangle, suspended from an acrylic panel, and bring an ever-changing, magnetic allure to the hotel. While art means something different to every viewer, some note that the installation subtly references the city’s famously diverse cultural makeup.

Photo courtesy of Gordon Huether
Photo courtesy of Gordon Huether

Blue Note Napa, a well-known jazz club and restaurant, has Gordon Huether’s integrated art installations. The 36-foot-long bar wall installation is made of repurposed drumsticks and vivid illuminated blue glass, and a nearly 40-foot-long art wall is made of the same materials. The east wall is a collage of wind instruments, guitar strings, blue lighting and — as a nod to the wine country — thousands of corks. The ceiling and walls in the hall of fame are covered with sheet music, while the walls display the portraits of jazz and blues legends.

Photo by Daniel Blue, courtesy of Gordon Huether
Photo by Daniel Blue, courtesy of Gordon Huether

At The CIA at Copia, two of Gordon Huether’s works are on display: “Is That Bob & Margrit?” and “Fork.” The first — figures that represent Robert Mondavi and his wife Margrit Biever Mondavi, who were both instrumental in helping Napa grow into a viable winery community — is approximately eight feet tall and made of high-density foam. The Mondavi tribute also acts as a visual welcome to locals, visitors and all who further the continued growth and expansion of the area as an unrivaled destination for food, wine and the arts.

The second installation is a culinary-inspired stainless steel piece made from more than 8,500 recycled forks, highlighting the region’s focus on sustainability and farm-to-table experiences.

Photo by Infinity Visuals, courtesy of Gordon Huether
Photo by Infinity Visuals, courtesy of Gordon Huether

The John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, CA, is home to Gordon Huether’s “River of Light & Mountain Range” installation, inspired by Muir’s love for the mountains and local rivers. Made of glass and steel, this installation at the entrance of the hospital is approximately the length of a football field. Inspired by nature, the work supports the medical center’s mission by creating a sense of health and well-being.

Photo by Misha Bruk, courtesy of Gordon Huether
Photo by Misha Bruk, courtesy of Gordon Huether

For more information about opportunities to view art in Napa, as well as what to do, where to go, what to eat and where to stay when visiting the burgeoning California town, check out Seven Reasons to Stay in Downtown Napa on Archer’s blog.

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